Purchasing a used car is something that people are doing more and more out of necessity. While you have to compromise a lot of things when driving an old car, safety hopefully is not one of them.
When you consider buying a used car or think of continuing driving your old car, safety is something that you should keep in mind. People say old is gold, but that saying in most cases does not apply to cars. The older a car is, the more unsafe it gets. However, while your old car is not getting all the fancy and innovative safety features of a brand new four-wheeler, it can be made safer with a few adjustments and changes.
Below are top 3 safety upgrades that you should consider doing when going shopping for an old car or when thinking of keeping your 7-year-old car.
1. Improve your steering
There are more vehicles and people on the streets than ever before, so careful driving and accurate steering are extremely important. Nonetheless, the steering on your old car may be less accurate and requires more muscle than that on newer cars. Changing the sway bar, shock absorbers, and struts can better the safety of your car.
The sway bar, which is also known as the stabilizer bar or the anti-roll bar, is a part of the suspensions that prevents the car body from leaning over to one side and rolling during a sharp, unexpected turn or over terrible roads. It makes one side of the car to rise or lower to the same level as the other side in order to lessen the tilting of the vehicle when going through curves, corners, or huge bumps. Not all cars have a sway bar, especially in older models, so if your car does not have a sway bar already, you should install one.
Shock absorbers and struts are also parts of the suspensions but they absorb energy when the car hits a bump and makes the vehicle stop shaking and bouncing. Besides, they keep your car stable when you brake. A rule of thumb is that if your car has travelled more than 50,000 miles (or 80,000 kilometres), it is probably time that you had your shocks and struts replaced or upgraded to ensure your own safety.
Upgrading some parts of the suspensions can help with better handling and steering
2. Change your brakes
Another important part of a car that you need to pay attention to regarding your own safety is a car’s braking system. With time, many parts of the braking system can fail to work properly. Some parts that you may need to pay special attention to are brake lines, brake hoses, and brake pads.
An old brake line can get rusty or may even break under pressure and it is of high priority to replace the whole brake line. If you can afford it, you may want to purchase stainless steel braided brake line as it has the best quality and lasts longer than other types of brake line.
Brake hoses are made from rubber so they get harder with time and may crack. Before the brake hoses break or are completely worn out, you also should have them changed.
Brake pads are steel backing plates made of friction material on the surface that comes into contact with the disc brake rotor. Because they are made of metal, the older the brake pads are, the more rusty they get, and the more worn off the friction material is. Like shock absorbers and struts, brake pads are supposed to be changed every 50,000 miles (or 80,000 kilometres), but if you drive on bad roads or uphill often, you may want to have them changed more frequently. Usually, when the brake pads are old enough to be upgraded, they make weird noises because the friction material wears off completely; that is how you know.
Most old cars do not come with the anti-lock braking system, so if you are willing to pay some extra money to greatly increase the safety of your car and of yourself, you should get a new braking system that has this feature.
Changing parts of the braking system can drastically improve your old car’s safety
3. Replace old tyres
Your car’s tyres are the only thing that comes in contact with the ground when you drive, so they play a significant role in keeping you safe. As tyres are made from rubber, they harden, wear out, and form cracks with time. You can check the tyres by yourself by looking at the treads on the surface. If they are barely visible, you should change your tyres as soon as possible. Other signs of wear that you may notice on the sides of the tyres are cracks, blisters, and lumps. In case you have been driving with the old tyres for a long time, the new tyres will make you feel like you are driving a new car because of the extra grip and friction, especially when you brake.
New tyres give you more grip and friction, hence more safety